Sacroiliac joint stability: Finite element analysis of implant number, orientation, and superior implant length

World J Orthop. 2018 Mar 18;9(3):14-23. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v9.i3.14.


Aim: To analyze how various implants placement variables affect sacroiliac (SI) joint range of motion.

Methods: An experimentally validated finite element model of the lumbar spine and pelvis was used to simulate a fusion of the SI joint using various placement configurations of triangular implants (iFuse Implant System®). Placement configurations were varied by changing implant orientation, superior implant length, and number of implants. The range of motion of the SI joint was calculated using a constant moment of 10 N-m with a follower load of 400 N. The changes in motion were compared between the treatment groups to assess how the different variables affected the overall motion of the SI joint.

Results: Transarticular placement of 3 implants with superior implants that end in the middle of the sacrum resulted in the greatest reduction in range of motion (flexion/extension = 73%, lateral bending = 42%, axial rotation = 72%). The range of motions of the SI joints were reduced with use of transarticular orientation (9%-18%) when compared with an inline orientation. The use of a superior implant that ended mid-sacrum resulted in median reductions of (8%-14%) when compared with a superior implant that ended in the middle of the ala. Reducing the number of implants, resulted in increased SI joint range of motions for the 1 and 2 implant models of 29%-133% and 2%-39%, respectively, when compared with the 3 implant model.

Conclusion: Using a validated finite element model we demonstrated that placement of 3 implants across the SI joint using a transarticular orientation with superior implant reaching the sacral midline resulted in the most stable construct. Additional clinical studies may be required to confirm these results.

Keywords: Biomechanics; Finite element analysis; Fusion; Minimally invasive surgery; Sacroiliac joint dysfunction.